Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Vioxx Hit Squad

"We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live." The words of a Merck employee regarding people who dared to criticize its bestkilling, er, bestselling painkiller/heart attack inducer Vioxx.

According to The Australian , Merck

...made a hit list of doctors who had to be "neutralised" or discredited because they criticised the anti-arthritis drug the pharmaceutical giant produced. Staff at US company Merck & Co emailed each other about the list of doctors - mainly researchers and academics - who had been negative about the drug Vioxx or Merck and a recommended course of action.

The email, which came out in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday as part of a class action against the drug company, included the words "neutralise", "neutralised" or "discredit" against some of the doctors' names.

More about this and similar tales of evil at Before You Take That Pill. You might recall that the superhero team in videos used to train Vioxx sales reps was known as the V-Squad. Perhaps the V-Squad was sent out to "destroy them where they live?" Check out the V-Squad videos here and decide for yourself.


Anonymous said...

wow. could someone work to get hold of these documents - the emails - thru the australian court system?

Anonymous said...

a comment under this vioxx intimidation story at 'before you take that pill' has a link to pdf of an email chain with "we may need to seek them out and destroy them" statement.

Anonymous said...

The problems with corporate corruption in medicine and on Wall St. will be solved much more quickly if consumers begin to shun truly execrable companies.

Marilyn Mann said...

Hi, there is a database of documents disclosed in litigation involving drug companies called "Drug Industry Document Archive." You can search for "neutralize" or whatever and find some interesting stuff.

Doug Bremner said...

Thanks for the link to the video. I hadn't heard of that one before. I just had breakfast so I'll have to watch it later. I heard about another pharma training video called 'Dodge Ball' where they showed a game of, yes, dodge ball, while they were teaching the reps how to dodge difficult questions about their drug. I don't know which one it was.

John said...

I was hoping this was an April Fool's joke.